For quite a while, I’ve been thinking about making some changes to the blog, and I think it’s finally time to start implementing them. So over the next month or two the design and content of Waking-Dream is going to change. I’ll explain whats driving that as things get a bit further along (ohh mystery).

So, in that spirit of new types of content, here’s a review of a gadget that has changed Dre and my lives: the Dyson DC17 “Animal Edition” Vacuum Cleaner (aka our 2nd wedding anniversary gift).

You see, we have a little problem in our house. Or should I say three little problems. Take exhibits “A” and “B” (or left-to-right Rita Mae and Lewis… not sure where Lilah was when Dre took this picture):

Lewis ponders while Rita gazes

We have three pets (two gray cats and a reverse Oreo pooch) that are all shedders. It’s inevitable that, over the course of a week, our floors and furniture develop a gray covering of their own. Said covering is, to put it mildly, “resistant” to most vacuum cleaners. In fact, pre-Dyson, the only surefire way we had to get things clean was to first use a pet brush on them (the carpets, not the pets) to loosen as much fur as possible and then to vacuum. Needless to say, cleaning was a time intensive production.

Dyson DC17Then, through word-of-mouth, I heard about Dyson Vacuum Cleaners. And, after a bit of research, I found that pet owners swore by them; in particular, everyone recommended the DC17 (pictured to the left). Why? It sucks. I mean it really SUCKS and in a good way. To put that into perspective, Dyson claims that it sucks at, be prepared, 150,000 frickin’ times the force of gravity. Seriously! It basically creates a mini-cyclone inside the chamber (at 150,000 frickin’ times the force of gravity) — how cool is that??!!

On the downside, it costs about $500 new (more on that later). So the immediate questions are: a. does it work? And, b. is it worth the price? Well, at the risk of embarrassing my wife further (by documenting our fur situation) let me tell the tale of our runner (with pictures).

The Carpet Pre-Dyson

With my back and forth between Rochester and Cornell, vacuuming has not been our number one priority. So, by this past Saturday, we had built up a lot of gray. Here is a picture of one of our runners. As you might notice it looks a bit desaturated due to the dusting of gray (those dark sections of carpet are supposed to be a dark navy blue/black).

Well, out came the Dyson and in far less than three minutes of back and forth over the carpet (I think it was about a minute, but I didn’t think to time it) there were noticeable results. Take a look at the illustration below:

As you can see, it looks like a brand new carpet (or at least a well cleaned, almost new carpet). But the greatest proof of the Dyson’s pick-up-ability (aka 150,000 frickin’ times the force of gravity) is to actually look at how much it picked up. And we can do this thanks to the oh-so-cool transparent dust chamber. Exhibit 1 — the chamber before vacuuming:


And then, Exhibit 2 — after vacuuming the runner (and only the runner):


Little bit of a difference, huh? All of that came out of an 8’x2′ runner!

And not only is that the obvious fur, it’s also a lot of dust and other allergens (that as it turned out the previous vacuum wasn’t picking up either). As far as we’re concerned, the DC17 performs to spec and then some.

Of course performance comes with a price. And beyond economic considerations, that price is felt in terms of weight and volume. No “skinny-minny”, the DC17 weighs in at over 30 pounds! It also is loud… not just “scare the pets” loud, the Dyson starts to get into “scare the neighbors” loud.

But the real sticking point is the price. As mentioned earlier, new, the MSRP is close to $500. At that price, I’d want the vacuum to also do the vacuuming for us (I’m not sure if it’s wise to think about mashing a Dyson and a Roomba… you might end up with Skynet). The really good news is, with a bit of searching, you can find a Factory Reconditioned DC17’s in the $220 ballpark. Considering that we payed almost that much for the previous “girly” vacuum, it seems a pretty obvious choice: if you are frustrated by pet hair, take the plunge and get a reconditioned DC17.